Approximately 22 million Americans have selected a health savings account (HSA) coupled with a high-deductible health plan according to America’s Health Insurance Plans. And the rise in these consumer-directed options shows no signs of slowing down as employers continue to seek ways to slow premium growth. But not all employees are entirely clear on how to use an HSAs to realize the plans’ full value.

Three Steps to Help Employees Maximize HSA Value

Here are three things you can do as an employer to help employees make the most of these savings vehicles.

Boost Participation Through Communication: When offering an HSA, be sure to clearly communicate how the plan works. Describe the details of participation, how to use the plan to offset high out-of-pocket costs, and the fact that HSAs are not just for short-term savings but can be part of a longer-term investment strategy as well. And keep up communication throughout the year—not just at open enrollment.

Tell the Triple-Tax Benefit: Remind participants that HSAs offer three times the tax advantages. Specifically, the contributions are tax deductible (or pretax, if made through payroll deductions), savings grow tax free, and owners can withdraw funds tax free for qualifying medical expenses, which include everything from regular doctor’s office visits to prescriptions, dental treatments and acupuncture.

Remind about Retirement Savings: HSAs offer a big benefit over FSAs and HRAs since the contributions roll over from year to year. And they’re portable, meaning owners can keep their accounts even when they retire. So even if employees don’t use the accounts for medical expenses now, they should be encouraged to contribute the max so they can use the money in the future, making them part of a worker’s overall retirement savings strategy.

Help your workforce embrace the HSA, for their benefit and yours. Learn more about HSAs in our employer FAQ, or contact our team to get answers to specific benefits questions.

Free HSA FAQ Sheet

There’s a lot of talk about the gig economy these days. For businesses, the growing gig economy provides greater flexibility, lower labor costs, and immediate access to skilled workers. But there is also risk involved in taking on a large number of contract workers.

A poll by NPR/ Marist revealed that 20 percent of jobs in this country are held by contract workers. That number is only expected to rise over the next decade.

Karyn Rhodes, VP and Director of Complete HR Solutions, a division of Complete Payroll Solutions, wrote about how businesses can benefit from the gig economy for the August edition of Cape and Plymouth Business magazine.

“While an alternative work arrangement gives companies access to talented professionals they may not have been able to afford previously, it is important to be clear about how you plan to use the workers for projects,” Rhodes writes.

She also cautions businesses to pay attention to legislative trends that may impact worker relationships, particularly related to benefits.

Read the article at Cape and Plymouth Business or get in touch with Rhodes and her team at 401.332.9325.

HR Outsourcing for Every Budget

In an effort to curtail workplace sexual harassment, New York State and City have both passed expansive anti-sexual harassment legislation.

New York State Anti-Sexual Harassment Legislation

The New York state budget bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on April 12 includes new sexual harassment prevention requirements for all New York employers, regardless of size. Among the obligations the bill includes, which take effect October 9, 2018, are that employers must:

  • Adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy and distribute it in writing to employees. This policy must include a statement prohibiting harassment, outline the procedure for investigations, include a complaint form, and explain employees’ rights, among other things.
  • Conduct annual sexual harassment prevention training for all employees. The interactive training must explain harassment, include examples of unlawful behavior, and provide information about employees’ rights and remedies. It must also include information about supervisor conduct and responsibilities.

The state’s Department of Labor, in conjunction with the Division of Human Rights, has developed a model sexual harassment policy and training program that employers can utilize, or they can develop their own compliant policies and training programs.

New York City Legislation

Following the state’s enactment of anti-sexual harassment legislation, the New York City Council passed–and Mayor Bill de Blasio signed–the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act. The Act contains several effective dates for its various provisions, including:

  • September 6, 2018: Employers must display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster and distribute a fact sheet on sexual harassment to new hires.
  • April 1, 2018: Employers with 15 or more employees must conduct annual anti-sexual harassment training for all employees.

Similar to the state law requirements, the city legislation mandates training that includes an explanation of sexual harassment, examples, the complaint process, and the responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees in the prevention of harassment. The City Commission on Human Rights will develop a training module that can be used.

With these changes looming, now is a good time for New York employers to review their current policies and training procedures for compliance, and update them as necessary. For more information, download our guide.

Download the NY Anti-Sexual Harassment Guide

In July, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations announced that I-9 audit notices were served to more than 5,200 businesses in the country since the start of 2018. The notices inform business owners that ICE is going to audit their hiring records to determine their compliance with existing law.

Download the ICE Audit Tip Sheet

So if you receive a notice, what do you need to do?

  1. Understand the law. Under federal law, employers are required to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all individuals they hire, and document the information on Form I-9. Employers must maintain original Forms I-9 for all current employees and keep the forms of former employees for at least three years from the date of hire or for one year after the employee is no longer employed, whichever is longer.
  2. Prepare for Inspection. Upon receipt of a notice of inspection, employers have three business days to produce their company’s I-9s for ICE to review during an inspection. Supporting documentation may also be required, such as a copy of the payroll records and list of current employees. In certain situations, typically as part of a criminal investigation, documentation can be compelled earlier by warrant or court order.
  3. Review Results. Once complete, ICE will notify the audited party of the inspection results. You may receive a letter saying you’re in compliance or one of several other notices, such as a notice of suspect documents, notice of discrepancies, or notice of technical or procedural failures.
  4. Perform Required Follow Up. If technical or procedural violations are found, then employers have ten business days to make corrections. If ICE is unable to determine an employee’s work eligibility or determines that an employee is unauthorized to work, the employer will have an opportunity to present additional information to establish their employment eligibility.
  5. Address Penalties. Employers with substantive and uncorrected technical violations may face monetary fines and those who knowingly hired or continued to employ unauthorized workers may be fined or criminally prosecuted. ICE considers five factors when determining penalties: employer size, gravity of the violation, involvement of unauthorized workers, prior violations and sincerity of the employer’s compliance efforts. Once you receive a notice of intent to fine, you can opt to negotiate a settlement with ICE or request a hearing. If no action is taken, you’ll receive a final order requiring you to pay.

To help reduce your potential liability from an I-9 audit, be sure to review and update your policies for compliance, train personnel responsible for I-9 completion and perform regular self-audits.

For more information about how to minimize your risk, download our ICE audit tip sheet. Or call Complete Payroll Solutions for more information at 888-865-4470.

Following passage of the Massachusetts Noncompetition Agreement Act in August, employers in the state must now comply with a new set of rules for any non-compete agreements executed on or after October 1, 2018.

The law specifies that, to be valid and enforceable, a non-compete must meet certain minimum requirements:

  • If entered into in connection with the commencement of employment, the agreement must be in writing and signed by both the employer and employee and expressly state the employee has the right to consult counsel before signing. It must be provided at the time of the offer of employment or 10 business days before an employee’s first day, whichever is earlier.
  • If the agreement’s entered into after commencement of employment and not in connection with separation from employment, it must be supported by fair and reasonable consideration independent of the continuation of employment and be provided at least 10 days before it takes effect. It also must be in writing and signed by both parties and expressly state the employee has the right to counsel before signing.
  • The agreement must not be broader than necessary to protect the employer’s trade secrets, confidential information or goodwill.
  • The stated restriction period cannot exceed 12 months from the date of cessation of employment unless the employee has breached their fiduciary duty to the employer or unlawfully taken property of the employer; in those cases, the duration may not exceed two years from the date of cessation of employment.
  • The agreement must be reasonable in geographic reach to the interests protected, meaning, it must be limited to areas where the employee provided services or had a material presence or influence within the last two years.
  • The agreement must be reasonable in the scope of proscribed activities in relation to the interests protected.
  • The agreement must be supported by a garden leave clause or other mutually-agreed upon consideration between the employer and employee. A garden leave clause requires the employer to provide payment of wages on a pro-rata basis during the restricted period of at least 50 percent of the employee’s highest base salary in the two years prior to termination.
  • The agreement must be consistent with public policy.

In addition, non-competes are not enforceable against workers who are nonexempt under the FLSA, enrolled undergrad or graduate students working in an internship or short-term employment relationship, have been terminated without cause or laid off, or are 18 or younger.

With these significant changes to non-compete law in the state, contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 888-865-4470 with any questions about how you may need to adapt your practices to comply.

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A good job posting is critical in today’s competitive hiring environment. But it can be challenging to write a description that attracts top talent while limiting the number of unqualified applicants. Here are some examples of job postings that work— and some that don’t.

Bad Job Posting Examples

Example 1

Job Title: Part-Time Administrative Assistant

Job Description: We are seeking a part-time administrative assistant to support our team. In this role, you will perform a variety of administrative tasks, including:

  • Greeting customers
  • Drafting correspondence
  • Plan and scheduling appointments and events
  • Answering phone calls
  • Maintaining organized files
  • All other office functions

To qualify for this position, you should have previous office experience, be able to multitask and prioritize, be detail-oriented and have excellent written and verbal communication skills. Please submit your resume for consideration.

What’s wrong?

This posting is for a part-time position but it doesn’t list any information about work hours or days of the week.

Example 2

Job Title: Stockers and Cashiers

Job Description: We are hiring for multiple full-time stocker and cashier positions to join our family-owned business at our Boston location. As a stocker in this fast-paced environment, you will help customers find products, carry purchases out to customers’ cars, and stock shelves. Cashiers will operate a cash register.

We offer a complete benefits package that includes medical and dental insurance, vacation, paid holidays and a 401(k) plan.

To apply, you should be reliable, self-motivated and a team player. Excellent customer service is a must! Please contact us at 555-555-5555 or shoot me an email at johndoe@company.com.

What’s wrong?

The post combines multiple positions. Always post a separate ad for each job rather than combining multiple jobs into one posting to simplify the ad for applicants and improve your keyword rankings. Use of the phrase “shoot me an email” is unprofessional and including an email address can lead to phishing scams and hacking. 

Examples of Good Job Postings

Example 1

Job Title: Teller

Job Description: Community Bank is looking for an outgoing individual to serve as the face of our institution.

About Community Bank: Community Bank is a local leader in financial services. Founded in 1821, our bank serves the needs of area customers with personal and business banking and wealth management services. Regardless of what our customers’ needs are, we meet them with the personalized attention only a community bank can provide.

What it’s Like to Work Here: Ask our employees and the one word they’d use to describe working at Community Bank is “great.” Our team members all share a positive attitude, problem solving abilities and patience, enabling them to provide excellent customer service even during fast-paced shifts. Our culture, plus continuous opportunities for growth, have resulted in an industry-low turnover rate. Don’t miss out on this rare opening with us!

A Day in the Life as a Teller: As the first person customers engage with when entering the bank, you will help complete transactions, uncover financial needs, recommend products/services to help them meet their goals, and refer them to other specialists at the bank if appropriate. With each transaction, you will need to ensure compliance with our policies, procedures and security requirements as well as government regulations.

Qualifications to be a Teller: No special skills are required but some requirements mean you have the potential to be a great teller:

  • Cashing handling skills
  • Caring attitude
  • Detail oriented
  • Good communications skills
  • Strong math skills
  • Knowledge of core computer programs and aptitude for working with new systems and software

Ready to apply? If this job sounds like a fit for you, then click on the ‘apply’ button below. Good luck!

What’s good?

This posting gives an overview of the company and the culture, describes the role in sufficient detail, and limits the qualifications to those that are most important to keep the ad brief. The language is engaging and broken up into clear sections to make the post easy to read.

Example 2

Job Title: Senior Account Manager

Job Description: Drive customer satisfaction and revenue growth through strategic relationships as a senior account manager in our sales and marketing department in our downtown office.

About Us: We provide global communication solutions to customers in 150 countries. Rated a top 100 employer two years in a row, we hire the best people and provide them the best benefits to improve their lives, including a competitive salary, medical, dental and vision coverage and perks like a fully-stocked break room with complimentary food and drinks, on-site gym and frequent company and team outings.

About the Role: You will help distinguish our company with professionalism, best practices and deliverables that build customer loyalty. Among the responsibilities of the role are:

  • Opportunity Development: You will help manage the customer relationship based upon new project direction, including assisting in RFP responses, contract negotiations and supporting the development of the solution review.
  • Portfolio Expansion: For existing customers, you will work to expand the sales of additional deliverables.
  • Maintenance Renewals: In a timely manner, you will collaborate with other team members to manage renewals.

About You: The ideal candidate will have the following skills and experience:

  • 5-6 years in consultative selling
  • Experience in creating solutions for customers based on their initiatives and our offerings
  • Understanding of the industry and the business challenges customers face
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

If you are ready to become part of our family, apply online here. In your cover letter, please explain why your experience is relevant to this role.

What’s good?

Section headings are clear and straightforward. Requiring additional personal information in the cover letter requires more effort of applicants and will reduce the number of submissions from those who are not serious about the role.

For help with crafting the perfect posting, download our cheat sheet. Or call Complete Payroll Solutions at 888-865-4470 for more guidance to boost your recruitment efforts.

Download the Job Posting Cheat Sheet

We’re thrilled to announce that Bank Rhode Island (BankRI) has selected Complete Payroll Solutions to provide cost-effective payroll, compliance, and integrated human resource solutions for its business banking customers.

“A business with five employees has vastly different needs than one with 500. With Complete Payroll Solutions as our provider, BankRI can deliver a range of scalable payroll solutions that offer customers greater efficiencies and affordability,” said Mark J. Meiklejohn, President and CEO of BankRI. “Ultimately, this is about making banking easier for business customers and helping them to grow.”

CPS is excited to help ensure that BankRI customers are compliant with ever-changing federal, state, and local regulations, as well as provide human resources tools like employee handbook creation and health and benefits administration services, among many others, including:

  • Payroll, direct deposit and multi-state tax filing
  • Employee self-service portal for pay stubs, W-2/1099s, pay history, etc.
  • Automated text alerts for management and employees
  • Secure document storage library for employer and employee records
  • Optional new employee on-boarding, expense reporting, time and attendance
  • Ongoing customer support from industry-certified, payroll professionals
  • HR Support Center that serves as a resource for numerous HR-related issues
  • Health and benefits administration

BankRI customers can learn more about these new services at the BankRI Payroll Services web page.

Simplify Your Payroll Process

In fiscal year 2017, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division collected more than $270 million in back wages. Rising penalties plus damages arising from Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits mean employers need to be vigilant with their pay policies. Here are five ways companies can minimize their wage and hour mistakes—and their liability.

Classify Employees and Independent Contractors Correctly

One of the most common issues employers face is misclassifying workers as independent contractors versus employees, denying them critical benefits and protections while avoiding payroll taxes. The penalties for misclassification can be steep depending on whether it was unintentional or intentional. To correctly determine the nature of each worker relationship, conduct an analysis of the facts of each situation using guidance from the DOL and IRS.

Document Exemptions

The FLSA requires that non-exempt employees receive at least the state or federal minimum wage and overtime pay. So it’s critical to delineate workers as either exempt (salaried) or non-exempt (hourly). But be careful: just because someone earns a salary doesn’t mean they’re exempt. If you’re claiming an exemption from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements, you’ll need proof. That means having a well-written job description that outlines the duties consistent with the exemption requirements, documenting an employee’s regularly daily tasks and the amount spent on each one, and explaining why you’re claiming the exemption.

Pay Non-Exempt Employees for Compensable Time

Be sure you determine upfront what time a non-exempt employee is considered “suffered or permitted” to work for you. For example, activities like starting up a computer or checking email—even off the clock or away from the office—technically count as work since they are integral to the employee’s job, so you must pay for that time. You also need to pay for time spent by non-exempt employees in meetings or trainings unless certain conditions are met.

Keep Accurate Wage and Hour Records

For non-exempt employees, you’ll need to track their hours worked. One way to make sure you and your workers agree on the calculations is to have them acknowledge and verify your pay records at the end of each week. And hang on to the records to protect your business from back pay claims of unpaid hours.

Calculate Overtime Correctly

Non-exempt workers must be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours in the work week. So workers understand when you’re responsible for paying them overtime, be sure to clearly define what your work week is and notify employees. To calculate overtime, the regular rate of pay must be multiplied by 1.5. While this calculation may seem straightforward, certain activities can cause errors, such as failing to include extra earnings or non-discretionary bonuses in the regular rate of pay since those amounts count towards “all remuneration.”

Compensation can be tricky—and costly. Find out how to minimize your risk of an enforcement action by downloading our audit preparation checklist. Or contact Complete Payroll Solutions at 866.658.8800.

Download the Audit Preparation Checklist

Our New North Shore Office

As part of our constant effort to better serve our clients and the businesses of the Northeast, we recently opened our 11th Complete Payroll Solutions office on Edgewater Place in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

The Wakefield office is staffed with a diverse team of payroll, benefits, and technical consulting professionals with deep knowledge and experience to deliver targeted human capital management solutions. As Complete Payroll Solutions expands, the new North Shore location will provide access to local talent to help meet the company’s resource requirements and further its capabilities.

Welcome to the CPS Team!

We’ve also added several new members to the CPS team:

Amy Avedian, Business Solutions Consultant: Amy joins us with more than 17 years of experience in the financial and benefits industries. In her new role she will be responsible for cultivating long-term relationships with clients in the Worcester area to achieve their objectives. Prior to joining Complete Payroll Solutions, she was a Business Banking Officer with Citizens Bank and previously served as a Senior Payroll Sales Consultant with Paychex for over 15 years. Amy graduated from Western New England College. She earned her Accident & Health and Life insurance licenses in 2002.

Jonathan Benoit, Senior Implementation Analyst: Jonathan is responsible for product development, platform demos, implementation and technical training for clients as well as providing project support to internal staff. He has more than 10 years of leadership and operational experience in the industry, most recently serving as Director of Payroll, Benefits, Retirement & Accounts Receivables at Nichols College. Previously, he was a Senior Client Service Representative at Harpers Payroll Services and Manager of Client Services at Payright Payroll Services. Jonathan graduated from Quinsigamond Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management and is currently enrolled at SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University) to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. He holds the Fundamental Payroll Certificate and Certified Payroll Professional designations, and is a member of the American Payroll Association.

Jim Ferreira, Business Solutions Consultant: Jim has joined the CPS team working out of White Plains, NY. He is responsible for developing strategic business partnerships and providing consultative advice and effective solutions to clients to address their changing workforce management needs. Prior to joining Complete Payroll Solutions, Jim was a Major Market Sales Executive at Paycor, Payroll Territory Manager in Fairfield and Westchester counties at Heartland, and Major Markets Services Senior Sales Consultant at Paychex serving Fairfield and Westchester counties. He graduated with an associate’s degree from Hesser College.

David Pachomski, Senior Implementation Specialist: David joins Complete Payroll Solutions with 25 years of experience in the industry, most recently serving as Payroll Software Administrator at Radius. Previously, he served as a Senior Implementation Specialist at Harpers Payroll Services, as a Payroll Administrator with ServiceSoft Technologies, and as a Payroll Specialist at Saint-Gobain. David received his Associate’s Degree in Accounting from Newbury College. In his new role, David will be playing a critical role in ensuring successful implementation and utilization of the company’s solutions.

Elizabeth Shah, Business Solutions Consultant: Elizabeth will be responsible for expanding business in the North Shore area by meeting the needs of current and prospective clients with tailored solutions to their workforce challenges. Elizabeth has deep industry experience, including working for 13 years in sales at Paychex, where she served clients in the towns of Lynn, Saugus, and Peabody in Massachusetts. She received her bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current openings.

As you grow your company from an owner-operated business to a team of professionals, it’s necessary to develop an employee handbook. Small to mid-sized companies implement this documentation to stay compliant with state and federal regulations, as well as reduce the risk of litigation that can destroy a business.

There are many variations of the employee handbook and several ways to approach development. Complete Payroll Solutions (CPS) provides templated samples for standard handbooks. Customized and industry-specific handbooks are typically tailored with the help of CPS’ HR and Compliance experts who work with you to create an online (and hard copy) version that is right for your company.

For some, however, a single handbook alone may not suffice. Multi-facetted businesses that span a variety of industries may require a corporate handbook accompanied by individual guides that pertain directly to a jobsite or locale. It’s not uncommon for states to have their own requirements too, so it’s important that your corporate HR department works in tandem with regional offices to create the right employee handbook for each area.

10 Sections You Should Include in Your Employee Handbook:

1. Company Overview & General Information
Though not required, it’s good to have an introduction to a handbook with an overview and historical look at the company to help transition into the context of the guidelines.

2. Non-Disclosures
Even if it only applies to a small percentage of staff, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should be addressed and emphasize confidentiality and privacy policies in place.

3. Anti-discrimination policies
Required by law, information about equality in the workplace as it relates to gender, race, disability, sexual preference, and religion needs to be in writing.

4. Compensation & Benefits
An overview of eligibility for medical and dental benefits, 401K, and profit sharing should be included, and this section may also cover promotion, demotion and any adjustments in pay.

5. Leave Policies
Family medical leave, bereavement, sick or personal days, and paid time off are some of the leave policies that should be included in the handbook in order to stay compliant.

6. Schedules & Business Hours
Include standard business hours and required methods of time tracking for hourly employees. Work-from-home policies and business travel should also be outlined.

7. Code of Conduct
Policies addressing arrival times, dress codes, excessive absences, and outbound communication should be clear as you discuss employee expectations.

8. Safety & Security
This section discusses reprimanding employees for inappropriate behavior, harassment policies, and reporting procedures to maintain the well-being of all employees.

9. Technology & Social Posting
A recent staple in handbooks are now the guidelines for online usage, social posting, and viral references relating to the company.

10. Signature Page
This one shouldn’t be overlooked. In order to make it official, you’ll need a signature from both a manager and the employee acknowledging that they have read the handbook content.

Employee Handbooks and Onboarding

Reviewing and acknowledging a company handbook should become an integral part of the onboarding process for new hires. It’s important that employees familiarize themselves and abide by this text to avoid warnings or termination.

However, an employee handbook is not a binding contract and should never be referred to as such. While a sign off of the document is kept on file, it in no way guarantees employment despite the adherence to the general rules and regulations.

Employee Handbooks and Compliance

Your company’s employee handbook is a living document. In order to stay compliant, it needs to be updated annually and adjusted as new legislation is announced and your company policies change. For more information about developing your own handbook, or creating amendments to existing documentation that address the latest FLSA rulings, call CPS at 866.658.8800.

HR Outsourcing for Every Budget